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Builders Inc. halfway through $4 million renovation on eastside apartments

April 16, 2010
The Wichita Business Journal

Untitled-1Builders Inc. is nearing the halfway point of a $4 million renovation of its Governeour Manor apartment complex at 7025 E. Lincoln.

The project consists of gutting and upgrading the 180-unit facility and is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Builders is replacing all the insulation, adding new windows and doors and upgrading the mechanical systems. The units are also getting new appliances, carpet, cabinets and electrical and plumbing fixtures.

Builders says it is more cost effective to upgrade and renovate the aginc complex, which was built in phases during the late 1960s and early 1970s, than trying to maintain it.

Builders has owned Governeour Manor since 2000.

Like similar projects focused on low-income housing, Builders is utilizing housing tax credits for the Governeour Manor job. The developer will receive $4 million in income tax credits for the project.

“It helps us take some tax benefit from fixing up some of our older properties,” says Builders President Mike Garvey.

ADDED EFFICIENCY

Renovations at Governeour Manor began in the fall.

A big part of the reconstruction process has been focused on green building practices.

The project is expected to receive an Energy Star rating of five stars, the highest score possible for a renovation.

Residents who have relocated into finished units have reported 40 percent to 50 percent energy savings, says Larry Shoemaker, vice president of Builders Construction.

The renovations include the removal of one of the complex’s two swimming pools for the construction of a communal clubhouse and the addition of four new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant apartments.

Builders has also teamed with Habitat for Humanity and is donating the used building material it replaces for use elsewhere.

Way believes Builders’ history with the tax credit program and its focus on energy efficiency at Governeour’s Manor made the project appealing to the state.

“It really fit the profile of what the state likes,” she says. “I think that’s why (the state) was so excited about this project.”

A BETTER DEAL

Builders also has used housing tax credits on similar projects at its Parklane Gardens, Pinecrest Village and Parklane Apartments properties.

And, as with those projects, Builders will keep the credits to offset taxes during the next 10 years – rather than selling them to investors as most developers do as a way to raise capital. Builders is financing the Governeour Manor project itself.

Fred Bentley, director of the rental housing division at the Kansas Housing Resources Corp., says it’s not common that companies are able to utilize the tax credits the way Builders does.

The company doesn’t need to sell the credits for the 70 to 80 cents on the dollar they typically bring. Because of that, Bentley says, the state’s money goes into the project at a dollar-for-dollar level.

“It’s a better deal for the public because we’re getting a better deal,” Bentley says. “If we could do everything this way it would be better.”

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